Sunday, November 03, 2013

Knitting and stashing (of a sort)

One of the universal truths of many hobbies is that one needs special stuff, oh I know in theory one can knit with any pair of pointy sticks and any yarn like material .... But the process is so much more enjoyable, the outcome more predictable and the result usually more satisfying if one has choice in tools and materials. My bookbinding is very much kitchen table stuff, oh I have a nipping press, and have made a wee clamping press - but the bulk of my tools and materials are those found around the house. Tambour bead embroidery is at the other end of the tool spectrum, starting with a special hooked needle in a special holder - and extending into frames that are able to tension larger pieces of fabric than your average embroidery hoop - not to mention the stands so one can work with both hands free. So far I have invested in several needles and holders, several frames, one set of supports, and a few different fabrics and threads. Those seemed the essentials, the things I needed to be able to tambour. Until now ... I worked with materials from my stash, like many I had a selection or is that accumulation of threads and other things that I had acquired over my life as I stitched and sewed, I also had a small selection of beads ... acquired when became interested in beads and knitting together.

Until now that is, recently I decided that while working with my existing stash was fine for developing skills in tambour beading it was rather limiting. Limiting in terms of the range I was learning to work with, limiting in terms of the colours I had on hand and what I could do with them. In short I realized that my yarn stash provided a resource on which to draw for inspiration and ingrediants and the beginnings of a project and I wanted a bead stash. There I've said it, I wanted another stash.
Enter a trip to Enterprise Beads to enhance my stash, who are based in Oamaru - an hour and a half drive north. Where they sell beads on strings. Strung beads, that is important for tambour work. Bear and I made a day of it, with little cub, elder cub had a D&D game to attend so escaped. Littlest cub scored a solid spruce top traveling uke - it was so cute, and sounded surpringly good for its thinness and size. Many of the beads in this box were not part of my stash before Saturday, and they are now. Beads that come in strings are often sold in hanks, and a hank can have around 4000 beads in it for the size bought. I bought several hanks ... more than I have fingers and thumbs. That means that I have over 40,000 beads at hand. That is a lot of beadwork practice. The only difficulty was coming to terms with the limiting factor of my purchasing dollar compared to the wide range of offerings in store. As a starting point I decided to get a few if my favorite grey/blue shades, some froggy greens, olives, golds and browns, and a few sparkly highlights, silver-white, orange, and dull gold. The hanks all fit into a remarkably small paper bag when bought - like a precious little secret, taking hardly any room in my handbag. I suspect I will go back. I may have also added some strung sequins, which come strung in worms each with 1000 sequins, I added 8 worms, so now have 8000 sequins to practice with .....some in gold, some in bronze, and and some silvery clear.
Surprisingly I have not broken into any of the hanks yet, just spent some time ordering my smallish stash and sorting the odds and ends (every stash has those) into a secondary storage box. Serendipitously my local Tambour guru gifted me a storage box of just the perfect size and function, so now I have two boxes filled with beads, or near filled ... There is room for moe. I have been working away on the pink lace edged cardigan - to the point where a sleeve begins.
And I have one more immediate project in mind, it involves converting these turned feet into embroidery frame supports.

These have been around for yonks, and every time we tidied up the shed, or the carport, or the replacement garage both Bear and I thought they were too good to throw away. Something twigged in Bears mind as I embroidered a few weeks ago and he asked why I didn't I use these to make an elegant frame support that would sit on the table. All I need now is some time in the garage with some steel pins, the grinder and the drill press ....
Spring has sprung, so the garden fills with weeds, there are outdoor chores to do ... And so I have no idea when I will get that time, but that is ok, I have a plan and one day there will be the opportunity.
Take care
Na Stella

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